Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Apple and AT&T can learn from Saudi Arabia

I've never been to Saudi Arabia, but if I ever go, there's one thing in particular that would be interesting to see on my way in and out.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, is the country where Mecca is located. Mecca is the site of a shrine that is the center of the universe for the Muslim faith. Muslims are instructed, once in their lifetime, to go on the Hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca. There is a Hajj season every year, during which Saudi Arabia hosts millions of pilgrims who trace the Hajj route and do whatever it is that they do. I apologize to Muslims for any and all details I might be missing or getting wrong.

The King Abduliaziz airport in Jeddah is where a lot of these pilgrims first step foot in the Kingdom. And to accommodate them, they built a special Hajj terminal at the airport capable of handling 80,000 passengers at once. This terminal is entirely separate from the ordinary terminal, and travelers bound to and from Jeddah for business other than the Hajj presumably use the other terminals to conduct their business likely with little or no impact from the crowds of pilgrims beginning their pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., another year has brought us another annual pilgrimage of a different sort, as Apple released a new version of the iPhone. And even though they've run out of the phones and delivery estimates are now well past mid July, AT&T's website has still not fully recovered.

I got a replacement 3G Microcell this evening from them in the hopes that it might fix the problems we've been experiencing. Whether it will or not remains a mystery, since I need to get on AT&T's website to swap out the serial number. But I can't. Because the hordes of iPhone customers are preventing any other business on the AT&T wireless website.


So now I am going to spend all night long pressing "reload" on 10 windows on AT&T's website until one goes through.

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